Learn how to be around a pooch from Bruce Wayne

No, not the Batman, but a blind Cairn Terrier who, despite passing away last year, is now the main character in a children’s book series being published by his New West owner.

“Why are we falling Bruce?” no one asked about Bruce Wayne, a cairn terrier when he went blind in the last four years of his life. But Bruce seems to have responded in some way other than words, “so we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

Bruce, who dated Rebecca Carrigan, aka Becca Blue, a New West actress, groomer and author for 14 years, died last year. Towards the end of his life he had contracted glaucoma, which had then turned into ulcers. Despite the many surgeries, Bruce lost his sight, Carrigan said.

Back then, “people were like, ‘What are you doing to him? He can’t do anything.’ I was so sad.”

However, Carrigan, who has 19 years of experience caring for dogs, didn’t give up on her doll.

“I gave him confidence – I’ve always done the same things. And I kept teaching him stuff and finding new ways to get his attention when he couldn’t see. And he really lived a great life. He could do all the things a normal dog could do.”

It’s often overlooked that dogs grow old, too, she said. “That’s why they end up in shelters or are put down because they (the owners) think there’s nothing they (the dogs) can do. You just gotta change it up a little, you know? You are just as good.”

A children’s book about a blind dog

Carrigan decided to end the stigma by writing a children’s book about her Bruce.

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Titled my dog ​​bruce The book series is based on the life of Bruce.

“He has adventures. In each book he gets to know a new breed of dog. And he has to get to know her without being able to see it.”

Carrigan will be reading from the book this Sunday as part of the free children’s storytelling session at Kinder Books.

The self-published book is a starting point for Carrigan to talk to children about dogs with disabilities and to expose them to different breeds of dogs. Of the “264 official dog breeds” out there, Carrigan drew 32 of them as part of a coloring book she recently released. In addition to popular breeds such as Labradors and Pomeranians, the book also includes lesser-known breeds such as Leonbergers and Irish Wolfhounds.

“One of my main goals is to stop the stigma that people are afraid of certain breeds and educate people to be animal smart. There are a lot of families and kids out there that just don’t know how to take care of animals.” Because of that, sometimes there’s a lot of fear in families and with pets, she said.

Carrigan is primarily a young adult author whose book Everything I need was made into an award-winning film in 2013.

“Normally I would never have delved into children’s books, but I got so frustrated as a groomer — I wanted people to be smarter about pets, and I figured I had to get to the kids first,” said the author, who grew up reading is a 1960s Clifford book series about the adventures of a big red dog.

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Educate people about puppies

Carrigan often found that dog owners didn’t know how to interact with their pets. Worse, they sometimes even bought the wrong breeds.

“They just like a picture of what the dog looks like, but maybe that’s not the right dog for their family. There are many dogs I would like to have, but I know I can’t have them because they wouldn’t fit my lifestyle,” she said.

“For example, I am not a sporty person. You won’t see me run a marathon. So for me it would be wrong to get a dog like a husky.”

Carrigan, who previously owned about five small dogs, only recently got a large one – a 100-pound Anatolian Shepherd dog – because her freelance job allowed her to work from home. She used to have smaller dogs that were easy to travel with.

Movies and dogs have been part of her life since she was a child. She recalls renting movies from Blockbuster and watching them as a family weekend ritual while tiny Shih Tzus roamed the house.

Even today, her routine includes movie nights after 8 p.m. along with her dog and kitten on the couch next to her.

In fact, all pets she’s ever owned have had names based on movie/series characters – like Atreyu and Falcor (from the never ending Story), Miyagi (from The Karate Kid), Kelly (“from some old Irish movie”), Cobra Kai (from Cobra Kai) and of course Bruce Wayne (from The Batman Series).

Balance careers in movies and dog grooming

Right out of high school, Carrigan decided to take up dog grooming to fund her class at the Vancouver Academy of Dramatic Arts. “I got certified as a groomer and groomed all my way through drama school.”

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Trained in veterinary clinics, Carrigan began studying animal behavior – which led her to research Animal Reiki (a Japanese form of energy healing).

“I found your energy was what came out of grooming. If you’re a very stressed person or nervous, that feeds the animal, and then sometimes you can’t take care of it.”

When caring for a dog, she keeps the household quiet. “I also do a lot of music therapy. Animals love instrumental music.”

When people speak in a quiet, low voice, it’s “super relaxing” for animals, she said.

“When I get them (the dogs) we do very quiet sessions where we sit on the floor and I touch them all over. I run my hands over it like I’m getting a massage. I touch their ears and their lips, their teeth and toes, everything. That’s the first thing I do,” she said.

“I’ve found that people create a lot of their own animal problems at home because they’re very stressed or their family is stressed. People really don’t understand how much of the animal’s personality comes from you as a person.”

But Carrigan has a hard time explaining that to the owners.

So she decided to write books for children. “Because kids get it, you know?”

“I present experiences from the dog’s point of view, and kids say, ‘Oh, OK, I see.'”

Join Rebecca Carrigan’s story reading followed by an art session at Kinder Books on October 23 from 9:30-10:30 am

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